Eight notations in the superscriptions seem to designate the use for the song or the occasion for its use or composition. These are usually infinitives naming an act, or nouns naming an occasion. Their precise meanings elude us. Ps 38 and 70 carry in their superscriptions an infinitive meaning “to call to remembrance, to cause to remember, to make a memorial offering.” Ps 88 has in its superscription an infinitive meaning “to call to remembrance, to cause to remember, to make a memorial offering.” Ps 88 has in its superscription an infinitive most likely meaning “for singing,” as the word is used in Ex 15:21, but which could also mean “for responding,” even “to afflict.” Ps 60 is designated “for teaching” or “for instruction,” Ps 100 “for giving thanks,” or “for the thank offering.” Ps 30 is for “the dedication of ‘the house’” (NIV “temple” or, perhaps, the palace), Ps 92 for the “sabbath Day.” Judging by its content, Ps 45 is not simply a “love song,” but a “wedding song.” Pss 120-34 are commonly known as “songs of Ascents” from the notation they all carry (with slight variation in Ps 121), šîr hamma'alôṯ, having somehow to do with “going up.” The ma'alôṯ should most likely be linked either with the steps of the temple gates (Eze 40:6, 22), vestibule (Eze 40:49), or altar (Eze 43:17) or with the act of pilgrimage (cf. e.g., Pss 24:3; 122:4), particularly its final stage of procession into the temple. These then would be “procession songs” or “pilgrimage songs.”
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